Road Trip - How to Make Your Kiteboarding Vacation Rock
I have been fortunate to travel with some real pros over the years. Thank you Brad and Skip for all the help. So the first thing I would recommend if you are heading out for a road trip would be to find a couple of veterans - they really will teach you so much and save your butt a few times too. Of course, always check your fins if they build your board. This article will focus on a kitesurfing "road trip", literally one in which you drive, not fly.
Budget - oh yes, you have to pay for this trip.
At MACkiteboarding.com, we go on a big road trip with customers every spring to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Our trip is a designed to be a bit higher end so that each individual or couple has their own room and our house isn't too full. A full week with accommodations might be $1,000-$1,500 per person (excluding transportation). The first trip we went on 10 years ago was a super budget trip. Vans packed with gear and people, a house with every couch full, and lots of cheap beer. I think I spent about $600 for the week. Count your pennies and decide how much you want to spend before you do anything else.
Where? Where, oh where do you want to go?
This is a pretty key question. If you have a week to go kiteboarding, driving for 12-18 hours will work. A 4-day weekend with 24 hours on the road can leave you in a beat up state, especially if the wind doesn't cooperate. We have found after quite a few kiteboarding road trips that wind always has to be the number one priority, followed closely by either lodging or warmth. Great lodging can make up for colder weather quite nicely. Cape Hatteras is truly one of the best locations since it is always windy and has the best kiteboarding housing in the country. Other kitesurfing areas like Hood River and South Padre Island offer great wind, but the housing is not set up as perfectly as the Outer Banks.
So you have picked your spot after some good research online and talking to a couple of local kiteboarders who have made some trips. Don't forget this last part since they have probably made a few mistakes and can get you more time on the water once you arrive at that magical kite surfing beach. Now is the time to start packing your kiteboarding gear.
How much kiteboarding gear should I bring along?
Lots! Pack as much gear as you can fit. If you don't bring that surf board, you know the waves will be cranking. The 16 meter you rarely ride? Double bag it with your 12. Make sure to focus on bringing a complete range of kite surfing gear to ride from 10-45mph if possible. Since you are driving on this trip, you should have plenty of room. Again, ask your local kiteboarding buddy. If you go to South Padre Island, summer wet shoes and booties are a must. Every kitesurfing beach has its own special gear needs. Here is a list that can be really helpful for a kiteboarding vacation or just a quick session at your local beach. Check it off and you are bound to score some water time.
Kiteboarding Gear Travel List
______ Riding buddy -be smart and always kite with a friend
______ Kite(s) 2-3 are best for a kiteboarding vacation
______ Bar w/ Lines - make sure to have at least 2 along for your trip.
______ Safety system (is your leash attached?)
______ Pump (is yours in working order?)
______ Board(s) Light wind, your go-to kiteboard, and a surf board is the best combination
______ Straps - you may need to remove them - keep all the parts together
______ Harness - will yours make it through the trip?
______ Flotation/Impact Vest - If you are riding new, deep waters, these are great tools
______ Helmet - go to Hood River where there are many rocky launch sites.
______ Tool Box (basic tools to fix board or kite) -a box of AirTime rules.
______ Sunscreen ______Sunglasses ______Hat ______Towel
______ Water (20 oz for every hour of riding)
______ Food (protein bars and bananas can add hours to your kiteboarding session)
______ Wetsuit (appropriate for the current temperatures (water/air) - bring 2 if you have them
______ Polypro under garment
Now call your buddy and make sure you have room for all that gear. People laugh at my minivan. Minivans rule for kiteboarding trips.
Let's hit the road and go score some kiteboarding sessions. The last couple things I recommend are to get in shape and to pace yourself. Hopefully you haven't been a couch potato for the last couple of months. Get in shape before you leave to double your water time. Pace yourself - plan to ride 4-6 hours a day with different intensity throughout the day.
Have a great trip and send us your pictures!